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Ultra-black fish discovered in depths of ocean

In the dark depths of the ocean, where camouflage can be lifesaving, scientists have discovered the blackest fish ever documented.

Researchers have found 16 species of so-called ultra-black fish, which by definition absorb more than 99.5 percent of light, making them mere shadows as they swim, scientists wrote in a study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, according to The New York Times.

“In the deep, open ocean, there is nowhere to hide and a lot of hungry predators,” zoologist Karen Osborn, of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and a co-author of the study, said, according to Reuters. “An animal’s only option is to blend in with the background.”

A new study from @OsbornLab & @sonkelab published in @CurrentBiology found ultra-black coloring in 16 fish species, the first time ultra-black has been discovered in aquatic animals. Take a look at the Pacific dragonfish.

This is the second-blackest fish the team found. It has a bioluminescent lure that it uses to attract prey, and if not for its ultra-black skin and transparent, anti-reflective teeth, the light from its lure would light up its face and scare prey away.

Ultra-black fishes absorb light by using only the size and shape of pigment-filled cellular parts, a much simpler method than any previously known. This could mean a new way to make ultra-black coatings used in things like cameras.

Read the full study @CurrentBiology here:

Originally tweeted by Smithsonian’s NMNH (@NMNH) on July 16, 2020.

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